ExpressVPN

5 Best Free VPNs

The Free VPNs we have selected a number of limitations. Other Free VPNs might be stealing and selling your data to make their money and we’d highly discourage it – see this article on Hola if you don’t believe us. We highly recommend you use a cheap VPN instead, take a look at our guide here.

 

While most VPNs are priced under $10/ month, this may be more than some people can afford, so free VPNs are always appreciated. While these are usually limited in one way or another, the ones we’ve selected provide a great service at zero cost.

It’s hard for a free service to compete with a paid one due to the downsides, which we consider for each VPN respectively. However, the services we’ve selected will still help you achieve privacy and security while carrying out your daily internet activities.

Free VPN Summary

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1

CyberGhost Free VPN Speed Cap

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2

SurfEasy Logo Download Cap

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3

TunnelBear Logo Download Cap

Read Review >
Visit Site >

4

Hotspot Shield Logo US only, Ad supported

Read Review >
Visit Site >

5

VPNGate Logo Educational Development

Read Review >
Visit Site >

B

Tor Logo Technically not a VPN
Visit Site >

Winner

CyberGhost

4,9/5

  • PROS
  • No logs
  • Based in Romania
  • Accepts Bitcoin
  • Shared IPs
  • CONS
  • Multiple simultaneous connections only allowed on most expensive plan
  • Speed cap

CyberGhost is a large Romanian company that regularly updates its features and software for both free VPN and paid users. Its security is impressive, going as far as deleting your payment details once they’ve been processed. It’s also working on some security technologies itself and is willing to support promising security start-ups too! Its client and customer support are first class.

While its free service has a number of limitations, including speed, time and advertisements, CyberGhost is superb all round.

Try Out the Best Free VPN Today!

Visit CyberGhost »


2nd place

SurfEasy

4,8/5

SurfEasy Logo

  • PROS
  • Great speeds
  • Five simultaneous connections
  • Easy-to-use software
  • Phone support
  • CONS
  • Download cap (more can be earned)
  • No P2P

SurfEasy is a fantastic Canadian company, with aims of bringing privacy and security to the masses, so it’s no surprise that it provides a free service alongside its normal plans. All of its plans come with a whopping five simultaneous connections, sport easy-to-use clients and offer good speeds.

Its free VPN plan is just as good as its normal plan, but does come with a data limit of 500MB (which can be increased to 1.5GB with a few tasks), which is only useful for occasional/normal use. Also, in order to be able to provide the security that it does, no P2P is allowed.

If you’re looking for something different, it also offers a Private Browser USB product, which comes with an initial fee but is valid for a lifetime.

Visit SurfEasy »


3rd place

TunnelBear

4,8/5

TunnelBear Logo

  • PROS
  • Entertaining
  • Minimal logs
  • Great performance
  • Great clarity
  • CONS
  • Limited countries
  • No P2P
  • Download cap

In many respects, TunnelBear is very similar to SurfEasy: it’s Canadian, for the everyday user and doesn’t allow P2P. Even its pricing is similar for the paid packages. We found TunnelBear’s support to be better, and its client a bit more useful and entertaining.

It provides three simultaneous connections, up to 1.5GB download limit and overall is a very good company for providing a free VPN.

Visit TunnelBear »


4th place

Hotspot Shield

4,7/5

Hotspot Shield Logo

  • PROS
  • Great software
  • Easy to use
  • Low price for premium and, of course, a free VPN service is available
  • CONS
  • Free plan is limited to US servers and advertising is supported

Hotspot Shield is a great all-round provider. It focuses heavily on its always-on protection system that keeps customers safe while connected to the internet, no matter where they are. To this end, it offers an excellent free service, a great application and software that supports all the major operating systems.

On the downside, the free version is advertising supported and you’re only able to connect to its US servers using it – and access to Netflix and Hulu is disabled too. Since it’s designed to be usable by the average person, there are unfortunately no advanced features, and the exact technical details are slightly hard to find out.

Visit Hotspot Shield »


5th place

VPN Gate

4,5/5

VPNGate Logo

  • PROS
  • Fully open source
  • Constantly being developed
  • Mirror sites and daily updates
  • CONS
  • Educational so keeps logs
  • No P2P
  • Slow speed

The University of Tsukuba in Japan developed VPN Gate, and volunteers run its servers. It’s designed as a distributed VPN system, based on SoftEther, which means it’s fully open source. All of these factors, including its mirror sites and daily updates, mean it’s a fantastic tool for avoiding government censorship.

Unfortunately, this does mean that P2P isn’t really allowed and connection logs are kept for nearly three months from all the servers. Also, since volunteers run it, speeds are unreliable, limited and can change very often.

Visit VPNGate »


Bonus

Bonus. Tor

4,5/5

Tor Logo

  • PROS
  • Ery secure way (paid or unpaid) to maintain online anonymity (although bear in mind that nothing is 100% secure)
  • Easy to install and use
  • CONS
  • Technically not a VPN
  • Slow
  • No P2P

Not strictly a VPN service, but as a widely used free system designed to ensure online anonymity it seemed criminal not to mention the Tor Network here. The open source Tor client allows you to connect to the internet anonymously through a distributed network (other Tor users) using a layered encryption service known as Onion Routing. This means that whenever you access a website your request will pass through at least three different computers (called nodes), with all information encrypted each time to provide a very high level of security. In addition, because your apparent IP is that of a random volunteer (of which there are literally hundreds of thousands), there’s no way to even determine that you are masking your identity. This makes this service famously invaluable for dissidents living under restrictive governments.

The main downside is that it’s not fast, as your traffic is being bounced around volunteers’ computers across the world. The Tor Network also asks you not to use the service for P2P file sharing. The amount of traffic involved puts a severe strain on the system and damages other users’ experience.

One use the truly paranoid may have for the Tor Network is in conjunction with Bitcoin payments. It allows them to maintain complete anonymity when signing up to and purchasing regular VPN packages.

Visit Tor »


Free VPN Conclusion

When you’re considering a free VPN, make sure that you’re aware of all the restrictions imposed.

We believe CyberGhost to be the best free VPN provider out there. This is due not only to the quality of its service, but because it offers the most sensible restrictions. Its speed cap means that you’ll be able to use the service as much as you want while always being protected. Granted you’ll be disconnected every six hours, but this shouldn’t be a big downside.

The other VPNs listed also have a lot to offer, and since they’re all free you can give them a full try before deciding which one to use. Perfect! So if your wallet is tight but you’d still like to be protected while on the internet, we highly recommend trying one of these completely free VPNs. Have a look at our summary below if you haven’t made up your mind yet.

Summary

Rank Provider Free Grade Link
4 30 day Money-Back Guarantee Sponsored
44444
Read Review >
Visit Site >

1

CyberGhost Free VPN Speed Cap

Read Review >
Visit Site >

2

SurfEasy Logo Download Cap

Read Review >
Visit Site >

3

TunnelBear Logo Download Cap

Read Review >
Visit Site >

4

Hotspot Shield Logo US only, Ad supported

Read Review >
Visit Site >

5

VPNGate Logo Educational Development

Read Review >
Visit Site >

B

Tor Logo Technically not a VPN
Visit Site >

Published 2015-05-11
Written by Peter Selmeczy

I am an engineer by trade and tech geek by night, who's passionate about sharing his knowledge with the people. Find me on Google+.

129 responses to “5 Best Free VPNs

  1. I am us citizen living in Thailand. I simply need to be able to access my daughters stock trading account in the us from Thailand. I found that the stock site refuses to let me trade because they see by my IP that I am out of the USA. I don’t want to anything wrong, but I want to be able to use her account with her as I teach her stocktrading. Will a VPN solve this and how do I set it up? Sorry I am so stupid!!! hahaha Thanks for advice.

    1. Hi Peter,

      VPN will allow you to do this, but I should warn you that if the stocktrading website somehow suspects that you are violating of its Terms and Conditions, it may take action such as freezing your account. For more information on how VPN works please see VPNs for Beginners – What you need to know to learn more about VPN.

  2. just wondering what you would suggest for multiple devices (android, android box and pc) steaming of Netflix, we use multiple countries Netflix and am concerned about the slow down when streaming in Australia

    1. Hi Daddy,

      For minimum slowdown while streaming a SmartDNS service is faster than any VPN, and will also work on devoices such as smart TVs and games consoles…

  3. Hi I’m a bt user my ip address was recently traced I turned off my hub for an extended period of time and was assigned a new ip address, I have two questions:
    1) what will happen with my old ip address and can it still be used to find me?
    2) which is the best free vpn to use to mask my ip address?

    1. Hi YS and Yaseen,

      We have not reviewed Betternet yet, and I’m afraid that I know nothing about it other that being the only “free” VPN service to permit P2P that I am aware of (but how it can afford to do this remains unclear to me..) Personally, I see no reason to trust it.

  4. Hi, my name is Rinky and I am from india. I want to protect my ip address .SO please advice me free vpn. one more thing are you sure that these 5vpn are free of cost?

    1. Hi Rink,

      Any of these VPNs will hide your true IP address. Yes, these services are free, but they are limited in various ways (except for VPN Gate, which is run by volunteers.)

  5. When i google free vpn, that is what i expect, not “free but charge monthly for extra benefits”, sure the author of this page was paid by these providers to flog their shit with a misleading title, by the way i think you should change it, is free now £8 per month?

    1. Hi graham,

      All providers listed on this page offer completely free VPN. VPN serverices cost a great deal of money to run, so must fund themselves somehow. We think it perfectly legitimate to offer a limited free service, with the (entirely optional) option of upgrading to a more featured package. Note that VPNGate is volunteer-run, and is 100% free (ExpressVPN is not free, and we clearly label it as a sponsored link that offers 30-day money back guarantee.)

  6. Hi Peter
    I want to watch a stream provided by Icenetwork.com which will be showing the US Figure Skating Championships next week. Icenetwork is geoblocked in the UK. Which free VPN do you advise? Many thanks, Xabia

    1. Hi Xabia,

      I would try Hotspot Sheild, then TunnelBear. Please bear in mind that free services all have limitations, though. A better bet might be to take something like ExpressVPN up on its 30-day money back guarantee…

    1. Hi Ricardo,

      ExpressVPN has a server in Portugal, which should meet your needs just fine. Please be aware , however, that using a VPN to geospoof your location might breach your online poker site’s Terms of Service. Should it somehow find out, this could potentially put any credit you have with the site in jeopardy.

  7. hai, I am from india,tamil nadu, my college has cyberoam security they block all the vpn which we use. i need vpn to bypass the cyberoam ?

        1. Hi Naveen,

          Have you tried emailing Phiphon to obtain a download link? You also try using VPN Gate, as it is very unlikely that volunteer’s IPs will be blocked.

  8. Am a US Citizen, am in asia for my company assignment, I will need a Free VPN that can login from asia, Taiwan to be precise cos cyberhost do not have it.

  9. I have been using Hola and it used to work well…but now it just buffers every few minutes or quits entirely. I am in Canada and want to use American Netflix. Which vpn do you recommend?

    1. Hi Reece,

      I really recommend splashing out the 5 bucks or so a month it costs for a proper commercial VPN! Please be aware that Hola supports itself by selling your bandwidth! CyberGhost is IMO the best free VPN service as it funds itself transparently (by pushing its paid-for service.) Finding a good fast server can be apai, though. Another option is to try out the volunteer-run VPNGate.

  10. One other question: Since VPNs also limit the number of devices you can connect, what stops you from using different free VPNs on different devices. I’m a total newbie… Thanks for any comments.

    1. Hi Sophie,

      Absolutely nothing, but do please bear in mind that no free service is ever going to be fantastic.

  11. I’m looking into a VPN cos my home internet connection is not secure (not password supported). If i understood correctly free VPNs either have data limits, or bombard you with ads. Here’s my question, can i use VPN only when i need it: email, banking etc and use my “unsecure” connection when just browsing without VPN to not run out of data allowance? Thanks!

    1. Hi Sophie,

      Yes, you can connect and disconnect your VPN connection at will (it usually takes a few seconds.)

  12. I am simply trying to get a free VPN to download some of the Xbox Live Gold games that are region locked due to me being out of country.

    I don’t like the idea of any service that requires credit card info and such. Are any of these able to connect my Live Account for Xbox through a VPN that you know of?

  13. Going to China for one month and want to be able to surf the internet. I was told everything is blocked! What Free VPN would be the best and do I also need to get Psiphon. Or only Psiphon is enough?
    Thanks

    1. Hi Chris,

      Make sure you download the software you need before visiting China. Psiphon or VPN Gate may be enough for you, depending on your needs You should also check out my artcle on 5 Best VPNs for China for an in-depth look at the situation there.

  14. Okay, the article puts emphasis on FREE yet (I assume) these have been rated by the strengths of their paid packages? Because if not, there is no way HotSpot Shield would be 5th on any list. It’s (the free version anyway) literally THE WORST. At least back in the day it would slap some tacky ads and slow the connection down a bit, but work fine. It has been consistently getting worse with each passing year and I’ve finally uninstalled the cursed thing.

    For starters, half the time it doesn’t even assign you the right IP address. I had it set on giving me an American IP because I mostly used it to watch MTV and other American shows online, stuff otherwise blocked as I live in Europe. And yet in 2 out of 3 cases it would give me a German IP. The program would state “United States”, yet if I attempted to access MTV, I’d be blocked and redirected to the German MTV.

    Then a few years back they decided to bind the free users to a bandwidth limit, which was completely random because one day I could watch 3 40-minute shows in a row without problems and the next day I’d reach the limit after 10 minutes.

    Avoid it like the plague.

  15. I would say that I prefer IPVanish above all there rest, Extremely easy, reliable and really really fast compared to the others I tested.. Best thing is they don’t keep any traffic logs whohooo :)

    1. I totally agree ipvanish is the best its just i dont have money for a new subscription thats why am trying to find a new one that is just like it but can offer a free trail

  16. Downloaded VyprVpn, registered and when I made my first connection it disconnected and said I’ve been banned or blocked. I need a VPN with lots of options on ip’s and location, a free VPN.

    1. Hi Quibble,

      Have you contacted VyprVPN support about this? CyberGhost sounds as it would would suit your needs.

  17. so if i have ten pc’s an each one has a vpn on it tht has a cap of 1gig downloading can i just use another pc once i reach tht 1 gig cap? so it would be like 10 gigs total or it has something to do with your ip? an your limited to tht 1 gig no matter how many pc’s you have. im a novice i dont know much about this stuff

    1. Hi biggs,

      I would imagine that VPN companies allocate data caps based on IP address, so this is unlikely to work. There is nothing stopping you trying though (please let us know what you you find out!), or you could just pay a few bucks per month for a service that has no data caps…

  18. I have used several free VPN services as a trial but settled on Cyberghost 3 years ago and I have no real complaints about it at all.
    I get 5 connections with my plan and use it within VMs as well.
    This is being typed on TOR after going through 2 VPNs in order to preserve my privacy and Cyberghost is one of them.
    I personally find it an excellent service.

  19. Great info all-round and your abviously a generally nice guy!
    My question is, which is the most compatible VPN to use with utorrents and kickass? Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Ceiros,

      In general free VPN services do not permit P2P (torrenting.) As reader JV has pointed out, however, it seems Betternet can be used for this.

    1. Hi mikeo,

      Some VPN providers do not require an email address to sign-up, while others don’t mind you using a disposable email address (in fact AirVPN encourages you to use a disposable email address!)

  20. tunnelbear and some of the others are dcma compliant so they may tell about your torrenting. and some of them do keep logs. cyberghost is fine but the free servers for usa only the nyc one works with hulu, i dont know about netflix. The most privacy focused is mullvad. you can literally pay by cash in the mail, some of the others you can too but you don’t even need an email address with mullvad.

  21. Hi, tried to download CyberGhost from apple store but its not available in Spain.
    What are your thoughts regarding Avast Secureline
    Thanks

    1. Hi Monica,

      I’m afraid that we have not reviewed Avast Secureline (yet), and that I know nothing about it. Avast is a reputable company, but its Securline website provides pretty much no use useful information about the product. Given that it is a commercial product, why not just try one of the VPN providers we do recommend?

  22. Hi,How can I change my IP address if I get banned on online CS 1.6 server.I tried using browsec/zenmate, but it changes my ip while browsing but while I join the server it detects my old IP and says you are banned..Any suggestions? Thanks

    1. Hi the boy,

      I am not familiar with Counter Strike 1.6 (or otherwise) servers, but suspect that your CS software uniquely identifies you, making simply changing your IP address insufficient to evade a ban. Try typing “unban CS 1.6 server” into Google for lots of suggestions…

  23. I tried cyber ghost today and it would not work for me. when I logged in, it showed my real IP. I do not know if I am doing something wrong. I want the free vpn

  24. What about the folk in South Africa? We are so far behind. Please post some info for us also .(free vpn) or even paid. Showing!(configuration settings) Thanks.

  25. I just had a chat with ExpressVPN and seems it’s not free :

    Me: I heard you offer a free service as well, I only want a VPN in order to watch UK catchup TV while living in France that’s all . Would your free membership be suitable?
    Marlon: You will need to have a paid account to avail our services.

    1. Hi Terasa,

      No, ExpressVPN is not free. In the article it occupies a spot that is clearly labelled as sponsored, and that it offers a 30 day money back guarantee (i.e. it is not free.) I agree that the current display may cause some confusion, for which we apologise.

    1. Hi enock,

      VPN does not give you free access to the internet, it provides privacy when using the internet (although free servers less-so), allows you to geopspoof your location so you appear to accessing the internet from elsewhere, and secures your public WiFi connections against hackers.

  26. Wow, you answer every comment. Way to go.
    I wonder what you think of I2P for torrenting.
    I am having a hard time setting it up and getting connected through it.
    I have several “letters” from my isp to halt the downloads; so I need it to work.
    Thanks. B.T.

  27. hi,..
    I just want to know which one better if i want to use in my old cdma droid to be ipcam,cause in my country cdma no longger in service so i would like to use it with my home internet service so i can access it from my other phone while i’m gone.

    1. Hi sukarto,

      A good guide for setting up an old Android phone to work as an IP webcam can be found here. Although not necessary, it is a good idea to secure this connection using VPN, but this involves setting up your own VPN rather than using a commercial solution such as those listed in this article. We have a guide to Setting up a private VPN using Hamachi and Privoxy, or for a basic VPN you can Setup a VPN Server Using a DD-WRT Router.

  28. plz assist i was try to connecting free vpn but it ask me pass
    word and security how can i connect plz assist me with secure and password

  29. I tried VPN Gate just now, but it didn’t worked… I just wondered why you put it on the list. I personally prefer VPN Asia…

    1. Hi Tarsisiu,

      Well, VPN Gate works fine for us, and is on the list because works well as a free VPN. VPN.Asia is not free.

  30. Hey, all i want to do is play draftkings or any kind of daily fantasy contests but I am currently outside the US so the sites don’t let me play (even though I am a US citizen and my home is in NY). Do VPNs help me with this problem and will it let me deposit money into those accounts/sites. Thanks

    1. Hi Mike,

      Yup, VPN should help you with that. As long as you have a US address and bank account, I don’t really see a problem (but check the Terms and Conditions carefully).

  31. Hello,

    Just tried to connect cyberghost and dosen`t work anymore.
    Couple of hours ago it works, but now all the servers (country) are not free anymore.

    It`s a pity, it worked very good till now.

    1. Hi Mario,

      As far as we know CyberGhost is still offering a free service. Have you tried reconnecting again?

  32. I noticed that for two of the services you recommended you state that the provider “prefer” no P2P activity. Does that mean a user can still use it for P2P with out risking banishment? Great review thank you. This was insightful and educational for someone like me who knows little about these things. Best part of all you politely reply to all questions. This is the best part of your work here! Thank you.

    Respectfully

    1. Hi sarm1084,

      The ‘services’ you refer to are Tor and VPN Gate. By P2P downloading using Tor you slow down even further what is already a very slow service for all other users, and put the volunteers who run the exit nodes in danger reprisals from copyright holders. Downloading via Tor is therefore considered very bad form, and is strongly discouraged. Like Tor, VPNGate is a volunteer network, and by downloading you put those volunteers at risk (and also clog up their bandwidth with your downloads). If you want to P2P download then please use a commercial service that is setup for this sort of thing (see 5 Best VPNs for torrents, P2P and filesharing).

  33. Hi, thanks for info. I’m really out of date with technology. All i want to do is watch UK TV abroad. Can I assume cyber ghost’s speed “con” will not cause a problem? And is it easy for a techno dummy to set up? Thanks

    1. Hi Ali,

      For streaming TV content, then yes, CyberGhost’s speed cap for its free service can cause problems (although in my experience the cap is a lot more generous than advertised.) It is free, so why not give it a try and find out? In general, however, for just streaming TV you would be better subscribing to a low cost SmartDNS service instead, as this involves minimal slow-down…See our sister site SmartDNS.com for more details..

    1. Hi Dirgam,

      Your website required visitors to disable or remove adblock software before visiting it. For this reason alone we recommend that all readers avoid it completely.

  34. i want to use hotspot shield on some phone app, i want to know if the vpn also works on phone apps or just for browsers only

    1. Hi dannymarkham,

      VPN works for your whole internet connection, but many apps use other methods (such as accessing you phone’s system settings and GPS data) determine your real location…

  35. Does Hotspot Shield work for apps like Steam, Overwolf and TeamSpeak?
    I really need the U.S. store available to me when ever i need it and for how long i want it enabled.

    1. Yes, a VPN will completely hide your identity, so any that you chose should be fine.
      However, since you will be playing games (I presume), you will have a large bandwidth use and download amount so I’d recommend using CyberGhost or signing up to a premium account.

  36. Surprised ZoogTV VPN is not on that list as it’s one of the better free vpn services out there. They do have a monthly cap on data download, but it’s a handy 2GB!

    1. Hi Sam
      The last time we updated our ZoogTV review, they didn’t have a Free Plan, so thanks for bringing this to our attention. When we revaluate this list we’ll make sure we consider them as well.

    1. VyprVPN isn’t free. CyberGhost does work for online gaming, once you sign up to their premium plan.

  37. Tunnelbear and Cyberghost being free is a fiction. In practice it is unusable.
    In the old days I was satisfied with Cyberghost but things have changed.
    A few months ago I switched to SecurityKISS. Decent speed and server selection. Daily limit of data but usually it is enough.
    Is there anything else on the market?

  38. Honestly, I only use CyberGhost so I can have more stuff on Netflix & access some other sites like nbc, stuff like that. And umm, I used to have hola but then all the sudden it was literally the worst thing what u could do to ur PC.

    Now, bc hola was free & I’m using this w free plan as well, I gotta wonder, how their VPNs & IPs are any better, so can u pls clarify that for me?

    If it really is safe, then I quite frankly like it bc even US connections’re fairly fast, considering I live so far away from there, & usually free VPNs won’t give u good connection.

    1. Hi Rauz,

      CyberGhost funds its free service through its paid-for services (which the free service advertises). It is one of the few free services that we actually recommend.

      1. When people say free they obviously mean free forever. Nobody comes here in the hopes of getting a VPN free for 1 day, or getting 1,5GB of safe/open surfing.

        1. Hi Tim,

          I think you have to understand that running a VPN service is not cheap, and providers therefore have to find a way to pay for it. IMO offering a service that gives users perfectly useable (if limited) VPN protection for $zero in the hope that they will choose to upgrade to a paid-for service is perfectly reasonable. Many companies who offer free and unlimited VPN services either steal customers data and sell it to advertisers, or (as with Hola) steal their bandwidth and sell that. At least with companies that offer a limited service as an ad for their full commercial services it is transparent how how can afford to offer a free service.

  39. Regarding the cyberghost VPN. After creating a free account and downloading the application, when I open it it says “Downloading required components” and it takes forever to download which lead me to think that it is not downloading actually. Does it have anything to do with living in a country that blocks such sites? please reply.

    1. Hi teeto,

      I’m afraid that it is impossible to say for certain, but it does seem possible. Perhaps you could try Psiphon (the devs will email you a copy if you can’t download it from the website), and then download CyberGhost behind that?

    1. Hi Mango,

      I’m afraid that you are wrong. CyberGhost continues to offer a free service (its home page proudly states ‘Join now one of the world’s most trusted and secure VPNs. For FREE.’)

      1. Yes, it requires paid plan only when you want to use one of the standard VPN protocols (like OpenVPN) and not their client. Which means no free VPN for Linux users :/

        1. i bought their plan for $14 a year ago. well i want to renew it but it was around $78 now..it did said “free download” but the plan are far from free..

  40. Disregard. There is a Free Plan after you select “My Account” after having created an account.

    You are not banned after-all. My Apologies

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